Homer, in the "Iliad" and "Odyssey," makes mention of gold as the glory of the immortals and a sign of wealth among ordinary humans.
The most noble of the noble metals, gold has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history.
Gold is one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally in the universe. It is thought to have been produced in supernova nucleosynthesis from the collision of two neutron stars and to have been present in the dust from which the Solar System formed.
Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a deep blue, semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BC, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in the Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan.
At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.